|Location Map ( geo)|
The A3024 Bitterne Bypass "Maybray King Way" is a dual-carriageway bypass of Bitterne, a suburb of Southampton.
Until the nineteenth century there was no village of Bitterne. There was a very small settlement nearer the river at Bitterne Manor, as well as a number of manor houses in the area, and clusters of farm workers cottages, but nothing at all in what is now the centre.
Chessel House was built in 1796 by David Lance. To improve access to his land, he encouraged the building of a new bridge across the Itchen in Southampton (Northam Bridge), and roads from there to Botley and to another new bridge over the Hamble near Bursledon, with the fork between these two roads at what is now the centre of Bitterne. There was just time for a village to spring up around the junction before the whole thing was engulfed by Southampton.
When roads were first classified in 1922, none of the roads in Bitterne were classified, but a few years later the road out of Southampton and over the Hamble became A3024 (part of it later became A27), while the road from the fork in Bitterne out towards Botley became A334.
The A3024 and A344 were (and are) the main roads in to Southampton from the East. The amount of traffic on them would have grown enormously, not only because of increasing car usage generally, but because Southampton was at this time expanding rapidly Eastwards, so people living in the new housing estates of Harefield, Thornhill, Sholing, and Bitterne itself, would have needed to use these roads to get to the city centre.
In the 1950s the A3024 was dualled over a newly rebuilt Northam Bridge and (with a short single carriageway section over the railway which remains to this day) up the hill towards Bitterne.
The next mention of it in parliament is in 1976, when a question is asked about the reason for the delay. The written answer suggests that part of the reason is the transfer of responsibility from Southampton City Council to Hampshire County Council, as Southampton, like other places at that time, ceased to be a county borough.
That answer suggests that construction was going to start imminently, but in fact it was several more years before anything happened, and the bypass finally opened in 1982.
The road is officially called Maybray King Way, after Horace Maybray King, who had been mayor of Southampton before serving as an MP for twenty years.
|Approaching Bitterne along the A334, you can see from the buildings in the distance that this is on the line of the High Street. A pedestrian subway leads under the bypass and onto the High Street.|
|The whole of Bitterne High Street is now pedestrianised.|
|The Red Lion pub is at what was once the fork between the A334 (left) and A3024 (right).
The lion that now stands on the brick pillar in the foreground was once on top of some buildings that were demolished when the bypass was built.
|Further down the High Street. These photos might appear to show that the shops in Bitterne are not much used. In fact the High Street was very busy, just not the bits I photographed.|
|The end of the High Street. Opposite is the top of Lance's Hill.|
|220px||Looking down Lance's Hill, at the A3024 and the city centre.|